Table of contents
Introducing Perpetual Spinach
Growing perpetual spinach is easy and we have a few helpful tips that will assist you to grow this nutritious plant in the tropics.
Perpetual spinach is also known as Chard, Swiss Chard or Silverbeet. Furthermore, there are actually three main types of chard, white-stemmed, coloured, and perpetual. The perpetual variety tastes like spinach and is hence referred to as perpetual spinach.
Growing Perpetual Spinach in Containers
Perpetual spinach is the best chard to grow in the tropics. So plant it in full sun and make sure your plants are well-watered.
This is a ‘cut and come again’ plant which will crop almost all year round (hence the name perpetual).
Position your plants in full sun. Work compost and well-rotted manure into the soil before planting. Chard is a heavy feeder and thrives in soil that it high in nitrogen.
Growing Perpetual Spinach from Seed
Time needed: 3 minutes
How to grow perpetual spinach from seed.
Prepare the soil. You need moist, fertile soil, so work in a slow release organic fertiliser if needed.
- Sow seeds
Water before sowing so the soil is moist. Sow seeds in rows 15cm (7in) apart. Plant seeds 1-2cm (1/2in) deep.
Water regularly enough to keep the soil moist.
- Germinate and Thin
Seeds should germinate within 10 days of sowing.
Plants should be ready to harvest 50-65 days from seed. Also remember, if you pick in the early morning, rinse and eat fresh, you will enjoy a more full flavour from your chard.
Weed regularly to stop invaders stealing nutrients from your plants. In addition, using mulch will help keep the weeds down and keep the soil moist (saving you money on water as well).
Growing Perpetual Spinach in Australia
Apply a slow release fertiliser to the soil when planting. A nitrogen rich liquid fertiliser applied once a month is a great way to feed your chard on an ongoing basis. Indeed this will give your plant a nice growth spurt.
Start harvesting from the outside. Cut leaves 3 to 5cm (1 or 2 inches) from the base. Make sure you rinse the leaves thoroughly before consuming.
Water chard regularly to keep them healthy and avoid the leaves becoming too bitter.
Perpetual spinach needs about 2.5cm (1in) of water each week, so if the soil feels dry, you know there is a need to increase your watering. Furthermore, mulching around the plants can conserve water and help with pest management.
Pests and Diseases
The pests of perpetual spinach include caterpillars, slugs aphids and mites. These can do a lot of damage. However, regular application of white oil can help address these pests. White oil is an effective organic pesticide that you can make at home.
Neem oil also does a great job. It is organic as well and does not kill beneficial insects with hard shells or bees.
Eating Perpetual Spinach
Growing perpetual spinach is worth the effort. Indeed it us often used fresh in salads, stirfries, soups and omelets. However, it is usually boiled or sautéed, as the bitterness fades with cooking.
This nutritious leafy green contains 3 times the recommended daily intake of vitamin K and 40 percent of your daily vitamin A requirements.
Eating high fibre foods such as chard can help you lose weight. Such foods are very low in calories and also increase you feelings of fullness when having a meal.
Growing perpetual spinach provides you with a spinach that is high in dietary fibres and is known to help prevent constipation.
This nutritious leafy green is also full of vitamins and antioxidants which will help to boost your immune system.
Chard contains the antioxidants alpha and beta-carotene, lutein and choline. These antioxidants help the body resist cell damage. Consequently, they can assist in limiting the progression of some diseases and infections.
In addition chard contains pre-biotic fibre. This is a type of fibre that must go though you undigested. Further, this is know to improve your gut health and promote ‘good’ bacteria.
In conclusion, thank you for reading our guide to growing perpetual spinach.
Other Tropical Vegetables
- Malabar Spinach
- Pak Choi
- Pumpkin Growing
- Snake Beans
- Sweet Potato